Aug 31, 2009 | 2
Since the 1990s, Vietnam has managed a seemingly impressive forestry trick: Although overall forest cover in the country has increased, so have its exports of wood goods, like patio furniture. So how did the Southeast Asian country manage the feat?
The answer to the riddle: forests felled elsewhere, often illegally. The lumber first came in from neighbors Laos and Cambodia and now is coming from Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia, among others, according to a new analysis in today's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by geographers Patrick Meyfroidt and Eric Lambin of Belgium's Universite Catholique de Louvain.
All told, forest now covers roughly 38 percent of Vietnam, up from around 25 percent since 1987, according to figures the authors compiled from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. That increase is thanks to government policies that restricted logging and "shifted the source of wood from natural forests toward plantations and imports," the researchers wrote. But, they added, the domestic forest industry also shut down "because of a growing scarcity of raw materials."
May 27, 2009 | 2
Animals are born to roam. So when they find themselves living on small patches of land surrounded by housing developments or cornfields, their movement is unnaturally confined. They may never find that other patch a mile down the road that is full of food, nesting grounds, even mates with differing genes (a very good thing for the health of a species.) What’s more, the plant seeds and pollen that naturally hitchhike with them are also stuck.
But, as conservationists discovered more than 40 years ago, if you connect these fragments with skinny strips of natural land, called “corridors,” plants and animals can more naturally spread. Now, results published online last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest the strategy’s benefits for biodiversity may even extend beyond the borders of these linked patches of land.
May 11, 2009
New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific, is the hottest spot on Earth for biodiversity, says a study in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. That island boasts a rich array of unique plant and animal species, which are increasingly under threat from humans.
In the study, ecologist Holger Kreft of the University of California, San Diego and his colleagues looked at what they termed "endemism richness," or the number of unique species combined with the overall number of species around the world.
Feb 24, 2009 | 1
As if biodiversity wasn’t under siege already from encroaching human populations and climate change, it is literally under attack, according to a new study showing that most of the last half-century's conflicts were in the most ecologically rich—and threatened—parts of the planet.
One hundred eighteen of 146 of the wars fought between 1950 and 2000 occurred in biodiversity hot spots, according to the study in Conservation Biology. There are 34 of those hot spots—defined as areas with at least half of all known plant species and at least 42 percent of terrestrial vertebrates—on the globe, based on criteria established in 1988 to prioritize conservation goals.
Feb 18, 2009 | 7
The undisturbed tropical forests of Africa—like the rainforest in Congo—remove 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. For the last few decades, that rate of removal has increased by 0.6 metric tons per hectare per year—simply because the trees are getting bigger and bigger in size, according to an analysis published in Nature today.
That's good news for those who are looking for ways to sequester carbon, which many say is necessary to curb global warming. "We are receiving a free subsidy from nature," said study co-author Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds, in a statement. He and his co-authors measured the girths of tropical trees in Africa—and hence CO2 absorption.
Jan 21, 2009 | 1
Farmers and conservationists don't always see eye-to-eye. But a team of researchers in the U.K. is looking at how raising animals on disappearing natural grasslands might help conserve both the land and the farmers.
Moderate grazing can actually be a good thing for some native grasslands—from the fen to the moor—which, when left alone, can become unusable woody scrub, according to Henry Buller, a geography professor at the University of Essex. In the past, farmers have abandoned many of these parcels in favor of more productive hay-sown fields or confined, grain-fed operations to fatten more animals faster. But with the right marketing, animals raised on natural pastures—teaming with an array of native plant species—can bring in top dollar (or pound, as it were).
Deadline: Aug 31 2013
Reward: $100,000 USD
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBFAI) is launching the 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge whose
Deadline: Jun 30 2013
Reward: $1,000,000 USD
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and&
Save 66% off the cover price and get a free gift!
Learn More >>X